1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    position on the bike

    as a long time roadie(i wave though, not a snob ), i can't figure out what my position on the bike should be. as a roadie i've set my seat on my mtb so i have a road bike type leg extension, but that makes me feel way to high as far as balance goes. lowering my seat my balance is better, especially going down hill and on slow, technical stuff, but it's not a natural way to pedal for me. having a limited leg extension, to what i'm used to, feels very inefficient.

    is mtb'ing just a different pedaling style that i need to get used to, lower seat, less extension? on the road i'm a proponent of spinning so a higher rpm is not big deal.

    i'm on a gary fisher rumblefish, 29er, full suspension, and ride the rocks in the phoenix area.

    a seat dropper is coming in the near future, but for now what do you vet's recommend?

    thx, j-

  2. #2
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    I probably ride about 1" higher on my road/hybrid bike than on my trail bike. Just want to be a litle more "in" the bike than on top. The dropper post will help a lot once you get used to using it.

  3. #3
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    There is no way - just no way to fit a bike over the interweb. If having your seat height at pedal cadence optimum makes the bike to high centered - try lowering your overall handlebar height.

    Crankset RPMS are not as frantic on a trailbike (as opposed to Road) so needing the extra leg extension is not truly optimal - for instance my saddle is never that height, my bike is a 7" f/r 36lb beast of a trailbike though, so it's not always setting the pace on group rides...

    Try the equivalent to the '17deg' stem trick a lot of roadies apply to that 73deg HT angle, other than this alteration to the bike it's not going to be fixed here.


    I hope that doesn't come across as harsh, advice like this needs more personal interaction, like physical presence!
    Kyle died accidentally while masturbating.

  4. #4
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    How long have you been riding the dirt? Maybe take a skills class ? Get some riser-wider bars /higher stem. What is different on the road bike that doesn't feel that way? Mountain bills do have a higher center of gravity.

  5. #5
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    I pretty much match them.

    A couple thoughts -
    If you corner like a triathlete, you don't have a lot of range of motion for moving up and down, or letting the bike move up and down over rough stuff. Any time you're not pedaling, put your pedals at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock and unweight your saddle. That applies to road cycling too - look for your road descending skills to get better as you get comfortable on your mountain bike. Anyway, making your platform will put a lot of bend in your knee and I bet you'll feel a lot more comfortable. You can corner either with your outside foot front or down, or (better yet) you can enter with your outside foot forward and put it down as you apex.

    The position of the handlebars is really important to feeling well-balanced on a mountain bike (or road bike.) They should be where your body wants them. Otherwise, you'll put yourself where the bars drag you. Which kinda sucks. Experiment with where your bars are. You should be able to take your hands off the bars without adjusting your position, really at all. You should even be able to do that with your butt off the saddle. Try that somewhere safe and don't blame me if you wipe out. I keep 'em around the bars if I try that, I just don't contact them.

    A lot of cyclists have weird pedaling habits that require or at least encourage putting the saddle too high. Make sure you're not pointing your toes down too stiffly, losing tone in your quads through the bottom of your pedal stroke, dipping your hips, etc. If you're doing any of that on the road bike, you could probably stand to ride all your bikes with the saddle a little lower.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
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    Saddle height and set back is the same as on my road bikes. The bars are a lot higher and closer on the MTB, though still further forward than many mtbers run. Higher and more rearward bars allows you to shift your weight further rearward when needed and lets the bike to pitch more forward under you going over obstacles or steep downhills.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by madduck View Post
    ...
    is mtb'ing just a different pedaling style that i need to get used to, lower seat, less extension? on the road i'm a proponent of spinning so a higher rpm is not big deal.

    I rode road and mtn. I am pretty sure my seat to bottom of the crank length is very close to the same on both my road and mtn bike. I have not measured, but they feel very similar pedaling. I don't have a dropper post either. On the the trails the seat never gets in my way as just work around it. I can do all the leaning and movement I need with the seat in the same position as I ride for pedaling power.

    So what I am saying is that you can run the seat the same on both and still have it work. I think it is just a comfort and experience thing. On the road bike you pretty much sit there. On the mtn bike I constant have the bike moving below me and rarely sit when descending or taking turns. I pretty much only sit when pedaling and stand if get some place I need to maneuver the bike.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  8. #8
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    Definitely acquire a dropper, IMO.

    I'd try to find a good compromise between the two during the interim. Pedaling too much without good extension sucks, but getting technical and steep with the seat too high is worse.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    Saddle height and set back is the same as on my road bikes. The bars are a lot higher and closer on the MTB, though still further forward than many mtbers run. Higher and more rearward bars allows you to shift your weight further rearward when needed and lets the bike to pitch more forward under you going over obstacles or steep downhills.
    Consider having a natural-lower angle on front so when moving from center to back the front end stays weighted, too-high/too-tall in the front does not necessarily create a centralized rider location; having the bike stick is what'll getcha pull.
    Kyle died accidentally while masturbating.

  10. #10
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    Don't take that the wrong way 'Rager if so - putting shorter cranks on a bike repositions rider-center, so in theory handlebar height is not a true patch for this issue.

    What happens with stems are many riders will feel an improved initial set from wrist angle and where their head rests, but the bike still handles poorly and fights them on trail. One of the simplest ways to tame a high-center is to find a general height for the handlebar and source the riser option for it, and also place the stem in a negative-offset, or find a near exact neg. degree to match. There's a lot to choose from -6,-10, -12 & -17 like is a movement in Road bike.

    The lever at the stem is now closer to 'road feel' 90deg perpendicular - which should be avoided due to suspension overriding this measurement - but the feel at the hands allows the upper body to apply force behind the handlebar. Instead of wallowing behind a setup not getting power down.

    All OP can do is try the range of options out there, but it's really best with one on one at a shop or another rider.
    Kyle died accidentally while masturbating.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Haint View Post
    Don't take that the wrong way 'Rager if so -...
    I don't follow your reasoning and explanations but be that as it may, I think you may be reading something into my post that isn't there. If the bars are low and far forward like they are on a road race setup, you can't shift your weight as far back and can't pitch the bike downward under you because your arms simply aren't long enough so you wind up feeling like you're going to go over the bars coming down off obstacles or on steep down hills.

  12. #12
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    My saddle position is the same on my XC mountain bike and road bike. I also use the same 170mm crank length on both bikes.

    Only the reach and height of the bars are different.

    Dropper post would be awesome. You need to be able to get proper leg extension on climbs and pedaling on the flats.

    I also have an AM bike...bike fit is out the window on that one.
    Cervelo S2
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Rager View Post
    I don't follow your reasoning and explanations but be that as it may, I think you may be reading something into my post that isn't there. If the bars are low and far forward like they are on a road race setup, you can't shift your weight as far back and can't pitch the bike downward under you because your arms simply aren't long enough so you wind up feeling like you're going to go over the bars coming down off obstacles or on steep down hills.
    Handlebar height won't really affect to what extent the riding position can be put behind the Saddle - no-rise or 40mm will not offer much. But finding a stem arrangement that allows the highest amount of feedback will allow the best fit of the handlebar and also the riding position.

    Why I suggested finding a bar height overall, then tucking in the action which lies over the front wheel; the stem length and the stem angle. Especially for 29" wheels. 26" is fine tuning, but to each their own.
    Kyle died accidentally while masturbating.

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